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February 11, 2012

BOWMAN: Staton receives coveted award

— In 2010, the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans (HARF) presented me with the organization’s Media Member of the Year award. Earning that award made the previous 14 years of countless miles and stories well worth it. Since I began writing for the Kokomo Tribune in 1984 covering stick-and-ball sports before gravitating to the racing scene, it was by far the proudest moment of my journalism career.

For as proud as I was that cold January day two years ago, I was even more proud of a person I admire and love like a brother, Rex Staton, when he recently earned HARF’s Emma and Joie Ray Award for Courage at the 60th annual HARF Recognition Banquet.

If there has ever been one as deserving of that honor it was Staton.

If not for his long-time friend Brent Goodnight finding him, pretty much unable to get to his feet in his home after his appendix burst, spreading infection through most of his body, Staton could well have lost his life.

“The doctors told me they don’t think I would have made it,” said Staton. “They really don’t know exactly what would have happened, but in all likelihood they made it pretty clear that Brent finding me and getting me help saved my life.”

What followed was month after month of healing. All the while, as he lay in a hospital bed, the sport he loves so dearly went on. Virtually all of non-wing sprint car racing’s biggest names trudged on, but Staton’s health was on their minds as hundreds would check Internet message boards to see the status of his recovery each day as the Goodnight family posted daily updates.

All told, he spent nearly three months, first at St. Joe/St. Vincent Hospital, then rehabilitation at Windsor Estates fighting off the infection that was ravaging his body. While he was on the mend, Goodnight and his wife, Asha, as well as Mike Harrington kept a constant vigil, keeping him updated on the goings on in the racing community.

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